Winning streak ends at Rugby

Rugby Town

Rugby Town

Preston (15)
Slough Town

Slough Town

League Attendance: 284 Chris Herron
Slough Town's recent run of fine form came to an abrupt end at Rugby, thanks to a single first-half goal from home skipper Nick Preston in a keenly-contested game of very few chances.

The early exchanges suggested that this would be a closely-fought match between two sides chasing a coveted play-off spot, and so it proved as the game developed into a war of attrition with the Warwickshire side coming out on top.

Slough, coming into the game on the back of five straight league wins, had the first half-chance of the game when Danny Burnell fired a volley wide with eight minutes played.

But with a quarter of an hour played, Rugby took the lead. Nick Heath’s long free kick was headed on by tall striker Leon Simpson, whose presence was a constant threat all game, and captain Nick Preston reacted quickest and managed to sneak in behind the Slough defence to fire a fierce shot past Bullivant and into the far corner.

With the upper hand gained, Rugby began to win the midfield battle and could have doubled their lead shortly after. Andy Gundelach embarked on a long run through the heart of the Slough defence, but the move broke down, much to the relief of the Rebels support, with the dangerous Richard Wesley looking to be played in on the left side.

Slough responded well, and Chris Herron went close, but Dave Clarke denied him with his legs, before plucking Chris Seeby’s rising drive out of the air with ease.

With half-time approaching, Simpson shot wide after Heath had played him through with a perfect ball, but Clarke made the save of the game from Steve Perkins’ firm header to stop Slough going into the changing rooms on level terms.

With the pressure on Slough to attack in the second half, Rugby looked content to soak up the pressure, though an onslaught never materialised and both defences had a fairly comfortable time.
Half-chances from Simon Martin and Chris Seeby failed to trouble Clarke, but Rugby went closest to a goal when Moran’s cross to the far post was met by Paddy Connolly, but Rob Bullivant moved quickly across his goal to block the effort and clear the danger.

Both sides made significant changes, with Rugby manager Sockett replacing his front three with fresh legs, including former Atherstone top scorer Simeon Smith, whilst Slough manager Steve Bateman replaced Steve Sinclair and Chris Herron, both of whom had endured a frustrating second half, with Ben Porter and Paul Coyne.

But neither side could find a way through, and Rugby defended their lead stoutly for the remainder of the game, their no-nonsense approach rarely looking like failing against a disappointing Slough attack.

Both sides thought they had valid appeals for penalty kicks late on – first, Rugby when Simpson appeared to be upended by Perkins after a powerful run into the box, and then in the dying minutes, substitute Simon Martin went down after getting in a tangle of legs with Gourlay, but referee Bingham waved away the appeals.

Rugby Town Lineup

Clarke, Moran, Goodbody, Preston (c), Gourlay, Gundelach, Heath, Connolly, Simpson (Fagan), Hoben (Steane), Wesley (Smith). Sub not used: Edwards.


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